Our collections are at the heart of what we do. They tell the stories of the people who served as the backbone to Scotland's industry.
Play & Learn
Our museums are looking forward to welcoming you back from the end of April!
Learning through play is a key feature of our museums. We invite you to explore our play and learn areas online to inspire you to visit in person. Whether you're visiting with family or school, our sites have plenty of opportunities to play & learn!
Essential Engineering I Spy
These will challenge you to hunt for hidden objects and answer fiendish questions as you make your way through the museum.
Fishing in Antarctica
Fish through the ice hole and discover what lives in the icy depths of Antarctica.
Learn about filterers and biters and discover what a whale can see.
Wee Miner's Room
There's a whole wee room of fun for younger visitors to the Museum of Lead Mining! There are games to play, activity sheets to do, and books to read. Enjoy!
Kids Interactive Play Area
In our Irvine Linthouse Building, there's a pirate ship where children can use items from the dressing-up box and become pirates, or for smaller children, there is a ballpool. Also close by is a boating pond who will interest all of us who are young at heart. You can use one of the readymade foam boats or purchase one to make yourself.
Visit the locomotive footplate
Visit the footplate of our working steam engine and find out how the coal makes steam.
Build a firebrick archway
Build a firebrick archway! Learn about the science behind how to build an archway.
Discover how children would have learned at New Lanark. Dress up in an 1820s uniform, write on a slate, play with old-fashioned toys and explore a giant globe.
Stand in the wheelhouse of an old fishing boat. Can you work out what all the equipment was used for?
Dress like a fisherman
Dress in the waterproof clothes of a modern fisherman. Will you be able to stay dry?
Move as many of the blocks from the loading area onto the ship, without the ship sinking below the surface of the water.
Test hull designs
Water + children = fun! In our Dumbarton Propellor Workshop, test different hull designs in our mini experiment tank with its own wave making machine. Children can watch their boat progress down the tank with the help of the wave machine.
Use the museum's supply of costumes to dress up as a fisherlad or fisherlass.
Test Your Strength
There’s lots of hands on activities at Summerlee to keep the kids entertained! You can test your strength on our pulleys interactive!
Interactive Gallery of Light and Sound
Designed around Robert Owen's theories that learning should stimulate the imagination, the interactive gallery is the perfect place for younger children to explore through sensory play.
Find out how to tie useful knots such as a Sheet Bend or a Bowline.
To viscosity and beyond!
To viscosity and beyond! Pump air through different types of oil to see which one is thickest.
There’s lots of hands on activities at Summerlee to keep the kids entertained, including dressing up!
There’s lots of hands on activities at Summerlee to keep the kids entertained, including creating your own brick masterpiece!
Brass rubbing trail
Use crayons to make your own brass rubbings while discovering more about our site.
Men of Discovery interactive
Touch screen interactive about the expedition journey, its crew and their clothing. Includes fun dressing up and sledging games.
Harvest to Home game
Touch screen interactive game. Discover the journey of Jute!
Find the Colliery Cats
Find all 6 colliery cats around the museum and win a prize!
Mill Mouse Trail
Hunt for Mill Mouse while you learn and explore with the help of songs and activities.
Smoothing and carving a real wax hull model
On our Dumbarton Scraping Platform, kids love getting involved in this practice of physically scraping the excess wax from the model hull and to shape it, thus making it more streamlined for the water. Exactly as what would have happened many years ago.
Join the class
Join the class at Gavieside primary school! Get your picture taken and post it on social twitter @shalemuseum @goindustscot
Dress up station
Dress up as a mill worker or owner - who would you rather be?
Fishermen's Bunk Beds
Discover what it was like to sleep on a nineteenth century fishing boat.
Sort the Mail
Sort the post in the mail coach. Every one that ends up in the wrong box will take an extra day to arrive.
Be a locomotive driver!
Find out about the levers and controls used to drive a steam locomotive.
Change the signals and points
Work out how to change the signals in order to safely move the railway points.
Style the pony's tail
Have a go at styling a pit pony’s tail! Get the pony looking lovely for the agricultural show.
Interactive game, where children can build their own puffer by selecting various options. At the end of the game, the puffer will steam across the screen, and give a score out of 10. Can you build the Puffer so that it sails from one end of the screen to the other?
Make origami boats, read exciting stories and complete other fun activities at the museum's Art Cart.
Block and Tackle
Use a fishing boat's pulley system to lift heavy sandbags with ease.
Interactive game where you must carefully steer the dinghy around the course. Watch you don't get seasick, the floor moves!
Canal and Railway Interactive
There’s lots of hands on activities at Summerlee to keep the kids entertained! You can see if you can beat the top scorer on our canal and railways interactive!
There’s lots of hands on activities at Summerlee to keep the kids entertained, including our periscope game!
Blast Your Own Iron
There’s lots of hands on activities at Summerlee to keep the kids entertained! You can have a go creating your own pig iron in a striking recreated blast furnace!
Mining Mechanics Interactives
The interactive zone for older kids is a hands-on introduction to the science of coal mining. There is also an art-cart and building blocks.
Load Up game
Using the crane, move the cargo onto the ship. Be sure to load evenly to avoid tipping the ship, good team work is required for this!
Try your hand at net-making
Learn how to make a fishing net. Can you make one strong enough to catch a fish?
Steam power and life on board
Answer challenging questions and handle replica artefacts in order to discover what life was like on a steam drifter.
Don’t Drop a Red Hot Rivet!
In our Irvine Linthouse Building, put on the welders mask, the riveter’s bunnet and pick up the riveting gun. Now, imagine holding it for 8 hours every day! Try and place the rivets into the slots using the gloves provided. Not as easy as it looks.
What a Midden!
Explore the museum's midden in order to discover what people ate thousands of years ago.
Discover the variety of products that were once transported around the world in jute packaging by their smells.
Crafting the Mine
Explore the Lady Victoria Colliey in Minecraft and mine for coal at the coalface!
Bale mark interactive
Interactive that allows visitors to take brass rubbings of bale marks that would have once featured on jute bales. Follow the trail and collect them all!
There’s lots of hands on activities at Summerlee to keep the kids entertained, including dressing up our spinnign puzzle!
Build a Railway
There’s lots of hands on activities at Summerlee to keep the kids entertained, including having fun building your own railway.
Victorian Dress Up
Experience Victorian Wash Day and try on Victorian costumes in our A Race Apart exhibition.
Clearburn Natural Play & Picnic Area Nature Trail
Located on the very same spot where Robert Owen's schoolchildren learned about nature, Clearburn is a haven for natural play, with living willow sculptures, a bug hotel and a bog garden. You can solve the clues to find the nature posts and complete the Clearburn Nature Trail.
Come long and try your hand at writing on a slate and doing arithmetic! Have fun in the Gavieside schoolroom!